Star King BBQ: Tomahawks & Piedmontese Beef in Koreatown

Enter the rib-eye tomahawk into L.A.’s hyper competitive Korean BBQ scene.

Don’t be alarmed, the people ordering the tomahawks are not going to harm you – they just want the largest, most unusual cut of beef in L.A.’s Koreatown.

The tomahawk is the center of the rib-eye, very thick and on the bone, like an over-sized chop. And Star King is the only place that has it. But more importantly than it’s impressive shape is the type of beef. This isn’t grass-fed Wagyu, it’s a Piedmontese beef tomahawk.

Star King BBQ is the only Koreatown restaurant that serves certified Piedmontese beef. Descended from Italian stock but now being raised in the Midwest, Piedmontese beef is lower in fat and calories and higher in protein than prime; also, the cattle are raised on a vegetarian diet free of antibiotics, steroids and growth hormones.

Why is Piedmontese Beef so special? It’s in the genes. About 40 years ago, a Piedmont Bull and four cows were brought to the Lone Creek Cattle Company in Nebraska which raises the unique cattle. Today there are only 15,000 certified Piedmontese cattle in the U.S. and Canada making up less than 1% of all cattle. What makes this particular cattle so special is the inactive myostatin gene which no longer prevents muscle development and thus allows for a condition called “double muscling.” This creates beef lower in calories, higher in protein, and a higher percentage of the healthy Omega 3 fat. It’s a steak that’s virtually fat-free and yet extra-tender and tasty.

Where else do they serve Piedmontese Beef? Seasons52 in Century City and Stefan’s at LA Farm in Santa Monica, but those places are for rubes, don’t be a sucker. Save your paycheck and come to Koreatown and if you’ve got the skills, it’s also available at Marconda’s Meats inside the original Farmer’s Market at The Grove which is practically Koreatown adjacent. But the only place where you can grill Piedmontese beef at the table over live coals, wrap the meat in lettuce with slivers of garlic and fermented bean paste, and drink large amounts of soju is Star King BBQ.

Additionally, Star King BBQ uses charcoal briquettes, Soot, imported directly from Korea which cooks hotter and faster than gas. Star King BBQ also serves Kobe wagyu and special pork but really, the main attraction are the Piedmontese tomahawks.

Star King BBQ is located at the northwest corner of Western and Wilshire and best entered from its validated parking garage one block west of Western on Manhattan, which has an entrance into the restaurant. 3807 Wilshire Blvd, Ste 120. 213.384.5464. www.starkingbbq.com